Amex Points vs. Chase Points [2024]: Which Rewards are Most Worth the Effort?

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Not sure how to choose between two of the most popular flexible points programs in the world of miles and points? Here’s what you need to know.
Updated May 23, 2024
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Amex Points vs. Chase Points: Which Rewards are Most Worth the Effort?

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Some of the most valuable points you can earn with credit cards are from American Express and Chase.

While airline miles and hotel points can be wonderful, they can generally only be redeemed through those brands. Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed in multiple ways giving you more flexibility and choices — and potentially more value.

But getting the most out of your points often means committing to one rewards program. When it comes to Amex points vs. Chase points, how do you choose?

In this article, we'll compare these two popular rewards programs to help you select the right one for you.

In this article

Amex points vs. Chase points

When comparing Amex membership rewards points vs. Chase points, there are many similarities, including pooling points, flexible redemptions, and bonuses in certain spending categories. But just as taking the time to compare credit cards can help you pick the right one, so can taking the time to compare and contrast the rewards programs from these two credit card issuers.

American Express Membership Rewards Points

Amex Membership Rewards are the flexible points earned by many personal and business cards from American Express. What are Membership Rewards points worth? They're typically worth at least a base point value of 1 point per $1 spent, but it varies by redemption option. If you have multiple personal or business Amex cards, all of your Membership Rewards points are generally combined automatically into one pool of points.

You can use your Amex points with hotel redemptions, but you can also redeem American Express points in numerous other ways, including booking travel through American Express Travel, points transfers to airline, gift cards, and statement credits. In general, redeeming points for gift cards, statement credits, and online shopping offer the lowest redemption values for Amex points. You can book flights, upgrades, and Fine Hotels & Resorts through Amex Travel at 1 cent per point. Generally, you can find the best value by transferring your points to a travel partner to book an award reservation.

Top cards that earn Membership Rewards Points include:

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards is also a flexible points program that allows cardholders to earn and redeem points in many ways. You can earn Ultimate Rewards points through select Chase credit cards, by shopping through its portal (cardholders only), and with welcome offers from certain Chase banking and lending products. The earning rates for Chase Ultimate Rewards can vary by card and category.

There are a variety of personal and small business credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards. Although several Chase credit cards are marketed as cash back, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, they actually earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Ultimate Rewards points can generally be redeemed for travel, gift cards, cash back, and online shopping at a redemption rate of up to 1 cent per point. When you have certain rewards credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, points can be redeemed for up to 1.5 cents per point for travel through Chase Travel℠. You can also transfer Chase points to airline and hotel partners, often receiving a value of 1 to 2 cents per point or more, depending on the specific flight or hotel redemption.

Top cards that earn Ultimate Rewards Points include:

Now let’s look at these points systems head to head.

How much are Amex points and Chase points worth?

According to feedback from our community, Amex points and Chase points are both worth an average of 2 cents each. Your experience will vary depending on how you redeem them through the issuer or with their respective partners. Each card issuer offers numerous options for redemption, and the values for each method vary.

This chart breaks down the potential value you can expect to receive based on which redemption options you choose. Remember that you don't have to redeem all your points at once, and you can select multiple methods of redeeming points. Also, some of these values can vary, but they give you a general idea of what you can expect to receive.

Average value per point Amex Chase
Cash back 0.6 cents 1 cent
Pay Yourself Back N/A Up to 1.5 cents
Booking travel 0.5 to 1 cents 1 to 1.5 cents
Transfer partners 1 to 2 cents 1 to 2 cents
Online shopping 0.5 to 1 cents 0.8 cents
Gift cards Up to 1 cent 1 cent

Amex and Chase transfer partners

Amex and Chase allow you to convert your flexible points into airline miles and hotel points in the loyalty programs of multiple airline and hotel transfer partners. Transfers allow you to book reservations for a potentially higher value than you would get by booking travel using your points like cash.

The table below shows the current travel partners for each program. You'll notice some overlap, but the majority of the partners are exclusive to each card issuer. Many travelers pick the flexible points they want to earn based on their favorite airline and hotel loyalty brands. For example, if you prefer the World of Hyatt program, Chase is a good option. But Amex makes more sense for Hilton Honors members.

Amex Chase
Airline partners 18 11
Hotel partners 3 3
Total partners 21 14
Airlines
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Hawaiian HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hotels programs
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Amex and Chase travel portals

Amex and Chase let you book travel with cash, points, or a combination of the two through their travel portals. Each portal has its pros and cons that you should factor in when booking travel.

Amex Travel

When booking with the Amex Travel portal, the value of your points depends on what type of reservation you're trying to make. Points are worth 0.7 cents each when booking prepaid hotel rooms, prepaid car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Points are worth 1 cent each if redeemed for airfare, flight upgrades, and Fine Hotels & Resorts. You cannot book tours, Airbnb, shuttles, or other types of travel reservations with your points.

Fine Hotels & Resorts is an exclusive program available to Amex Platinum cardmembers. These reservations include perks similar to those you get by having elite status in hotel loyalty programs, such as early check-in, room upgrades, and daily complimentary breakfast for two.

When booking with cash, certain Amex credit cards earn bonus points when using Amex Travel to make your reservations. For example, the Amex Platinum Card offers 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com.

Chase Travel Portal

Through the Chase travel portal, you can book flights, hotels and vacation rentals, rental cars, cruises, activities, and more. The value of your points ranges from 1 cent to 1.5 cents, depending on which credit card you have. Ultimate Rewards travel reservations can be paid for with points, cash, or a combination of the two.

When booking reservations in cash through the portal, you'll earn rewards based on the card you use to pay for the trip. 

For example, if you pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you would earn 10X back on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually) and 5X back on flights purchased through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually).

Pooling and transferring points

No matter how many personal or small business American Express cards you have, all your points are automatically pooled into one account. (If they aren't, an American Express customer service agent can link your accounts for you.) This allows you to easily combine points for larger purchases and redemptions. Plus, if one of your accounts is closed, you will not lose any of the points in your pool.

Chase allows points to be pooled, but you have to transfer them between accounts manually. Whichever card holds the points determines their value and the available redemption options. For example, points earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited are worth 1 cent through the Chase Travel portal and cannot be transferred to a Chase partner. 

However, when those points are transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred, partner transfer options become available, and you can book travel through Chase Travel℠ at up to 1.5 cents per point.

The best cards to earn Amex Membership Rewards

American Express offers many personal and small business cards that earn Membership Rewards points. Here are some of the best American Express credit cards for earning Membership Rewards:

All information about Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

Many of these cards offer enhanced earnings in select categories and valuable perks and benefits to cardholders. Some Amex cards have no annual fee, while others have annual fees that reach hundreds of dollars.

Welcome bonuses are a way to quickly earn a massive amount of Membership Rewards points. For example, here is the current welcome offer for the Amex Platinum: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months.

The American Express Gold Card is also very popular because it earns 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. 

The Amex Gold also features an attractive welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership. Terms apply.

Check out our American Express Gold Card review for more details.

The best cards to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase offers a variety of personal and small business credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. Here are some of the most popular:

These cards range from no-annual-fee cash back cards to luxury travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which comes with premium benefits and a luxury price tag ($550 annual fee).

Chase credit cards primarily earn Ultimate Rewards points in two ways: the one-time welcome offer and everyday spending. One-time bonuses when you first apply can offer substantial rewards if you meet the requirements, typically within a few months of card membership.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is an excellent $0 annual fee card for everyday purchases. It earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

 The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best travel credit cards and is currently offering this welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth up to $937.50 when used to book travel through Chase Travel℠.

Check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for more details.

Which is right for you: Amex points vs. Chase points

When deciding between the Amex Membership Rewards program vs. Chase points, the "right" choice will be personal, based on your lifestyle, spending, and travel habits. Here’s a concise list of pros and cons so you can consider which program could be the best fit for you:

Pros of Amex points

  • Automatically combine points from multiple cards into one bucket
  • Transfer to over 15 airline and three hotel transfer partners
  • High potential value when redeeming for first-class or business-class airfares
  • Occasional transfer bonus promotions
  • Points do not expire

Cons of Amex points

  • Partner transfer ratios vary by airline and hotel
  • Poor redemption value for cash back, online shopping, and gift cards
  • Once per lifetime rule on welcome bonuses
  • Applicable cards typically require a good or excellent credit score

Pros of Chase points

  • Transfer 1:1 to over 12 airline and hotel transfer partners
  • Earn bonus points through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal
  • Worth up to 50% more for travel and Pay Yourself Back (with the Chase Sapphire Reserve)
  • Cashback option is worth 1 cent per point
  • Points do not expire

Cons of Chase points

  • Must manually combine points from different cards
  • Points have different redemption values depending on the card
  • The Chase Sapphire 48-month rule and Chase 5/24 Rule limit new cards
  • Applicable cards typically require a good or excellent credit score

FAQs

Are Amex points worth more than Chase points?

According to our community, both Amex points and Chase points are worth 2 cents per point on average. The value you receive varies based on how you use the points. Redeeming points for cash, gift cards, and merchandise typically returns the lowest value. Booking travel or transferring points to partners for premium cabin flights or luxury hotel stays can offer the highest value for your rewards.

What is better: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum are both premium travel credit cards that offer appealing benefits to frequent travelers, such as airport lounge access (including Priority Pass), transferable points, and bonus points on certain travel purchases. They both also give you an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve's annual travel credits and bonus categories are less restrictive, which gives it an edge to some travelers. Which one is better for you depends on which bonus categories you spend the most and which transfer partners you favor. Select benefits require enrollment.

Is Amex or Visa better?

Retailers around the world widely accept both American Express and Visa. However, Amex isn't accepted at every store due to the higher fees it charges retailers for processing transactions. That being said, according to American Express, its cards are accepted at 99% of the U.S. stores that accept credit cards as a form of payment.

Bottom line

American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are both top-rated rewards programs. Cardholders love how they can earn these points with multiple credit cards and combine their points balances for larger redemptions. Both of these programs are winners with some of the best credit cards on the market. The choice of which program you focus on should be a personal decision based on how you prefer to earn and redeem your rewards and which transfer partners you like better.

The good thing is you don't have to choose just one. Instead of thinking about Amex points vs. Chase points, you could choose to earn both to take advantage of the sweet spots in both loyalty programs and maximize your spending, rewards, and benefits. You could even consider working in another rewards program, such as Citi ThankYou Points, and reap the benefits of all three programs. 

Great for Flexible Travel Rewards

4.9

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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